A Rookie Truck Driver's First Week

Topic 13996 | Page 2

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Bucket's Comment
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It sounds pretty scary out there! These things are big and I know I'll be making all those mistakes. Everyone preaches don't hit anything. That's got to be a difficult chore. Sounds like truck stops can be a nightmare. You guys take care and stay safe. Love reading your post.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
The Persian Conversion's Comment
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Hey CM, don't sweat it, I flipped and totalled a fully loaded truck 2 months into my career and I'm still driving with the same company!

Pianoman's Comment
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Everyone is telling me it gets easier, so I'm assuming it must, lol! Sorry about the hit, that's a drag. Keep rocking it, you and I will get through these early days!

It really does get easier. Sorry to hear you had an incident Chickie. Thankfully it was very minor and you have already impressed some people at your company, so you should be all right as long as you stick with it and don't hit anything else.

There was one particular backing situation I distinctly remember from my first week out. I got to a truck stop (it was a Flying J, I think) in the middle of the night and it was packed. I tried for a few minutes to squeeze into a fairly tight spot and was just too nervous, so I ended up leaving and parking on the street. My main thought was actually how dumb I must look to all those other more experienced drivers out there. I was so self-conscious and tired I couldn't even focus on what I was doing. It's been barely three months since then and it's amazing how much easier those same daily situations are now! I back much better now, and at some point I just stopped caring what other drivers thought. Even with much improved backing skills, there are times I won't even attempt certain spots at a truck stop. If you're really tired or you just plain don't feel comfortable attempting a certain parking spot, it might be better to spend the extra few bucks for that paid spot that's alot easier to get into (if you have that option).

For what it's worth, if I have to park at night I usually aim for large TA/Petro's or Love's or mom and pop shops. It's not always the case, but I've found that alot of Flying J/Pilots are pretty tight, and they tend to fill up faster than the TA's and Petros--at least, the ones I've been to. Rest stops and parking areas (like the ones on I-80 in WY) don't typically involve much if any backing, if you can find a spot. The other good one is Walmart. There are still alot of Walmarts that allow truck parking--you just gotta call ahead and check to make sure. In my experience, Walmarts are usually pretty easy to park in late at night since there aren't many cars in the lot at that hour.

Anyways, hope my ramblings help. Little by little, things will just "click" all of a sudden, and you'll wonder why it was so hard before. You're doing awesome, so don't let this little setback get to you. Hang in there and good luck!!

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
David's Comment
member avatar

I agree with Paul W. It does get easier. Don't let it stress you out, IT could have been worse. At least it was just the tire rub and not the rear end of the trailer taking the bumper off..

We all know how hard it is to stay focused when we are rushing to find a spot with xx amount of time left to do so. Just remember to breath, If you have to, re-do your set up. never be in a hurry while backing.. bad things happen

ChickieMonster's Comment
member avatar

Thanks everybody for the kind words. Today was a fairly easy day. We made it home by noon and parked at my CDL school. They took some pictures to brag on Facebook and I was able to tell their current students all about TransAm and they hopped in to take a look at my truck (I made sure all my underwear was hidden!).

We got a ride to our house, visited with our pets and went to the dmv. It was pretty painless, they just issued me a new temporary and re mailed the permanent. Then we stopped for some groceries at the dollar general.

We went back to the school and got some super hot showers and walked to the cafe/grocery next door and got a hot meal.

I have to roll out at 0200 in the morning in order to make this delivery in OK on time.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

Bucket's Comment
member avatar

Isn't that far from Mo. to Ok. Just teasing! I'm in Oklahoma but about four hundred miles from Missouri. I go 44 all the way to St. Louis. Looking forward to some of those drives in a big rig.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
ChickieMonster's Comment
member avatar

Well this week just got better. I dropped my cookies off at the yard in OK and found an empty trailer. We went up to the gate to check out but I had to wait for my husband to go find some zip ties to hold up my gooseneck.

So I turned off the truck. When my husband came back.... Teddy wouldn't start!!! I'm very disappointed in him. I called road assist and they think the alternator is bad. So we are towing him off to Kenworth....

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

ChickieMonster's Comment
member avatar

Well Teddy is at Kenworth now. Hopefully they will have him up and running tomorrow. Because of this, I lost a 2000 mile run to Florida which would have put me at 2900 miles for the week. Bummer...

We are hanging out in Ardmore getting some much needed laundry done. I have a few pictures to share.

These are from my hit yesterday at the truck stop. This is the other drivers bumper.

image_zpsnljcbzb1.jpeg

My front tandem rim

image_zpswg2ssibk.jpeg

And this poor Teddy getting towed. Everyone I have dealt with on this from road assist to the guys at the KW shop have been totally awesome!

image_zpstccfmpoa.jpegimage_zps6uxpgoxc.jpeg

This tow truck was super cool! Beautiful long nose Pete with Spider-Man on it and the lettering was awesome.

image_zpsnuuyi9v7.jpeg

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
ChickieMonster's Comment
member avatar

Whoops! Got a little impatient! I'm exhausted, my husband is exhausted, we still haven't had a chance to eat today and we have been up since 0200.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
I'm exhausted, my husband is exhausted, we still haven't had a chance to eat today and we have been up since 0200.

Every experienced driver in here understands that! Take a break while Theodore is getting revved up and ready to roll.

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